By the Numbers: Texas at Kansas

This one's for all the marbles, at least for Kansas.  A home victory over Texas gives KU the outright conference championship.  A loss means a three-way tie with Texas and Texas A&M.  Let's look at some numbers.

Analysis: Last 5 Venue-Appropriate Games

The charts below illustrate the performance for each team over their last 5 venue-appropriate games (KU home, UT road).  The “Performance” is calculated by taking the opponent’s Sagarin rating for the game and adding (subtracting) the margin of victory (loss) for each game after factoring in home court advantage.

Texas has performed about 2.5 points better than its season average in its last five road games.  Even though Kansas has the #2 Sagarin Predictor rating for the season, they’ve outperformed that by a whopping 8.5 points per game over their last five home games.  Thus, over the last five venue-appropriate games for each team, Kansas has been 13.7 points better than Texas.  This analysis would suggest a comfortable victory for Kansas.

PSAN Player Ratings – Conference Only

Note: These ratings do not adjust for strength of opponent, since conference-only Sagarin ratings are not available.  For more information behind the methodology of PSAN ratings, visit this page.  Ratings are shown only for players who average at least 8 minutes per game.

Kansas

PSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
PSAN ("Total Impact")

PLAYER

PSAN70

PSAN

Darnell Jackson

6.05

32.18

Julian Wright

5.15

50.64

Russell Robinson

4.15

39.12

Sherron Collins

3.95

38.06

Sasha Kaun

3.15

22.23

Mario Chalmers

2.83

31.06

Darrell Arthur

2.72

18.17

Brandon Rush

2.61

31.58

Texas

PSAN70 ("Efficiency" - per 70 possessions)
PSAN ("Total Impact")

PLAYER

PSAN70

PSAN

Kevin Durant

7.69

105.43

Damion James

2.65

25.37

Connor Atchley

2.49

17.18

D.J. Augustin

1.02

13.65

A.J. Abrams

-0.74

-9.73

Justin Mason

-1.00

-11.49

Player Analysis:
(largely based on ratings above)

Anyone surprised to see Kevin Durant as the most efficient and impactful player for Texas?  Obviously not, since you could argue he’s the best player in the entire country.  But what’s most surprising is just how large of the piece of the pie his numbers are.  Durant’s PSAN (total impact) amounts to about 80% of the team total PSAN.  No wonder none of the other players’ ratings are much to speak of.  Durant really is the entire show.  He takes a third of his team’s shots when he’s on the floor and uses 31% of the team’s possessions.  Given his talents though, can you blame Texas for being fine with that?

There just aren’t any chinks in Durant’s armor.  In conference play, he shoots an incredible 48% from behind the arc, 78% from the line, almost 29 PTS, nearly 13 REB, and even 1.6 BLK and 1.9 STL while turning it over an understandable 2.6 times per game.  The only thing he doesn’t do well is assist, and that’s no knock on the guy.  Opponents must face the reality that Durant will get his points and rebounds.  The question is, how hard does he have to work for them, and do his teammates get in on the act?

After Durant, there just isn’t much statistically left to divide up.  Damion James averages 9 PTS and 6 REB on 61% FG and 73% FT shooting.  He also averages 1.4 BLK and gets to the freethrow line plenty compared to how often he shoots.

Connor Atchley doesn’t score a whole lot (3.8) but does rebound well (4.4) in his limited minutes (19.4).  He’s shooting just over 50 eFG% in conference play and also averages 1.4 BLK.  Not bad efficiency all around.

D.J. Augustin’s rating will come as a surprise to most.  After all, he averages over 15 PTS and 7 AST per game in conference while shooting 51 eFG%, 46% 3FG and 80% from the line with 1.7 STL per game.  Just keep a couple of things in mind.  First, these ratings are not adjusted for opponent strength and don’t reflect just how good Texas really is.  If these were cPSAN ratings, you would probably see Augustin higher.  Second, Augustin averages a whopping 38 minutes per game, even more than Durant.  So, these numbers are about 20% inflated over the typical starter simply due to playing time.  Some of it is also Texas playing 7 total overtime periods this season, enough for almost an entire extra game without there being an extra game on the record.  Also, he has 3.3 TO’s per game.  That still leaves him with a 2.1 AST:TO ratio.

Finally, Abrams and Mason have slightly negative ratings.  Abrams shoots a healthy 51.5 eFG% (43% from 3FG) and has missed only one of his 38 FT attempts, but he also plays 37 minutes per game and doesn’t do much in the way of REB, AST, STL or BLK.  Texas certainly appreciates his 13.3 PTS.  Mason shoots a very good 56 eFG% while scoring 7.6 PTS and 4 REB but gets in foul trouble and makes only 48% of his freethrows.  Additionally, he plays over 32 minutes per game, so those numbers just aren’t as productive for that amount of playing time.

For Kansas, it’s been Darnell Jackson and Julian Wright with the most efficient games.  Jackson plays only 14 minutes but averages 5 PTS and 5 REB on 56% FG shooting, enough to be on pace for a double-double if only he played a typical starter’s minutes.  He’s attempted 33 freethrows in his limited time, but is shooting only 64% there.  Wright is the third-leading scorer in conference play (11.8) shooting 52 eFG% and getting 8 REB, 1.4 BLK and 1.5 STL but averaging 2.5 TO’s.  Wright’s overall contributions are the most on the team.

The next highest rated duo also sub for each other.  Sherron Collins is many people’s pick for MVP over the last month, but Robinson’s numbers are right there with his.  Robinson doesn’t shoot very often, but when he does it’s been at a 58 eFG% rate (35% from 3FG).  He gets to the line a lot for the number of times he shoots, making 16-25 in conference play (64%).  Robinson pulls down a respectable 3 REB for a point guard, dishes 4.4 AST (2.38 AST:TO ratio), swipes 2 STL and even gets a block every other game in 27.5 minutes per game.

Meanwhile, Collins sizzles from the field with 63.5 eFG% (47% from 3FG), makes 76% FT, with 2 REB, 3.5 AST (2.0 AST:TO ratio) and 0.9 STL per game in just under 26 minutes per game.  The slight edge goes to Robinson mostly because Collins doesn’t do as much of the other things like STL, BLK and REB.  Also, KU is playing at such a high level that more playing time equals more credit.  It’s a very slight difference, but it’s enough to help give Robinson the edge in ratings.

Sasha Kaun hasn’t been quite as bad as some believe.  In conference play, he shoots 58% from the field but only 42% from the line.  In only 19 minutes, he averages 7.3 PTS, 4.3 REB and 1.5 BLK.  He doesn’t do much else and has offset his 15 TO’s with 8 AST, which isn’t terrible for a near 7-footer.  His rating definitely benefits from KU’s great overall play, but he’s not nearly as efficient as he was this time last season.

By some measures, Chalmers is the team’s MVP for the season.  Yet, in conference play, his numbers don’t stack up to his teammates’ quite as much.  In 29 minutes per game, he is averaging almost 11 PTS, 4 REB, 2.9 AST, 2.3 STL and 2.3 TO.  He shoots a respectable 51.7 eFG%, but his perimeter shooting is down a bit (35% from 3FG).  Still, when the chips are down, Mario has come up big.  Just look at the last game in Norman, where his 10-12 FT shooting saved the Jayhawks.  Chalmers may not have had the best performances in conference play, but there has been a good correlation between Chalmers’ play and KU’s team play throughout the season.

Except for the most recent game against Oklahoma, where he went scoreless, Darrell Arthur has been playing well of late.  In conference play, he’s averaging nearly 8 PTS, 5 REB, 0.9 BLK and 0.8 STL in only 18 minutes per game while shooting 53% FG.  Arthur just needs to work on staying in the game without picking up silly fouls.  He started the season with a high block rate but is down below a block per game now.  Still, he is one of the better offensive rebounders on the team and can provide a spark off the bench.

Finally, Brandon Rush has had some difficulty meeting expectations this season.  He is the team’s leading scorer (14.0) but does so by playing more minutes than anyone else (32).  He has a respectable 51.8 eFG% but too often has games where his shot is not finding the bottom of the net.  For someone who shoots as often as Rush, that often leads to offensive struggles for Kansas overall.  Still, Rush averages nearly 6 REB and shoots almost 74% from the line.  He hasn’t done much in the way of AST, STL and BLK, but he has lowered his turnover rate to only 1.8 per game.  On defense, Rush often draws the most difficult assignment, so we must not understate his importance to this team overall.  His numbers in the boxscore have just been a bit underwhelming considering his playing time and expectations.


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